About Us

Meet our team

We have over 350 research staff working across Newcastle Hospitals and Newcastle University. Most of our consultants are also involved in research projects.

This page gives you details about senior staff involved in the management and direction of medical and healthcare research in Newcastle:

Professor Julia Newton - Deputy Medical Director with responsibility for Research and InnovationShow [+]Hide [-]

Julia NewtonJulia was appointed as the Associate Medical Director for Research at the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2014. She is also Clinical Professor of Ageing and Medicine in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University. 

Julia graduated from Newcastle University in 1990 and worked as a doctor in training in Newcastle and the Northern Deanery, before obtaining her Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training in Geriatric Medicine in 2000. 

She obtained a PhD in Physiological Sciences from Newcastle University, and in 2000 she was appointed as an NHS consultant at the RVI. At that time, she had some academic time in her job. In 2006 she moved to a senior lecturer position at Newcastle University and was subsequently promoted to a personal chair in 2008.

Julia has over £2 million of grant funding from the Medical Research Council, NIHR EME and local and national CFS/ME charities. She currently has eight PhD students and has published over 200 original articles. Her research focuses on understanding the role of autonomic dysfunction in health and disease, with a particular focus on the symptom of fatigue. She currently combines both her clinical work and her research in delivering one of the CRESTA clinics at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality. 

Having graduated from Newcastle University and subsequently worked all of her career at Newcastle Hospitals Trust, she is extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to work with the team in the Research and Development Department to really capitalise on our reputation as the premier healthcare research organisation in the UK.

Paddy Stevenson - Research Platforms Operations ManagerShow [+]Hide [-]

Paddy StephensonPaddy is responsible for the delivery of the Trust’s research portfolio. To do this Paddy manages a team of over 350 research support staff, including nurses, allied health professionals trial co-ordinators, and data managers.

He is NIHR Operations Manager of Newcastle Biomedicine Clinical Research Platforms, and Chairman of Sunderland Research Ethics Committee - Type 3.

Following a period as a Staff Nurse in Paediatric Oncology, in 1992 Paddy helped set up the first chemotherapy day unit in the North. In 1998 he was appointed Research Nurse Practitioner specialising in targeted immunotherapy and EPO growth factors. Following a £1m donation, in 2001 he set up and was appointed to manage the Clinical Trials Unit at the Northern Centre for Cancer Treatment. From 2005, Newcastle Hospitals Trust worked with Newcastle University to build the Clinical Research Facility, Magnetic Resonance Imaging Centre, the Positron Emission Tomography Centre and the Clinical Ageing Research Unit. Paddy was an integral member of the planning team of these departments and is responsible for their management.

In 2008, the Trust and Newcastle University created a formal partnership - Newcastle Biomedicine - to enhance research and the delivery of specialised care, focusing on: ageing, stem cells, cancer, cell biology, genetics, drug development, medicine in society, and neuroscience. One structure was created to manage and support the individual research department or platform - Newcastle Biomedicine Clinical Research Platforms.

At the same time Paddy and Professor Ruth Plummer worked with a number of North East businessmen and Sir Bobby Robson to build the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

Paddy has also been Chairman of Sunderland Research Ethics Committee since January 2007. He is a Department of Health-recognised Cancer Plan Communication Facilitator for clinical trials.

Amanda Tortice - Head of the Newcastle Joint Research Office (NJRO)Show [+]Hide [-]

Amanda TorticeAmanda supports all the research undertaken within the Newcastle Hospitals Trust, as well as the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Newcastle University. 

The NJRO was developed following Amanda’s appointment in 2006. Within her current role, she has personally led the approval process for projects requiring NHS approval. This has included drafting, reviewing and negotiating agreements and contracts on behalf of the Trust, and supporting complex projects which span across the university, Trust and other local NHS organisations, as well as leading on regulatory and governance matters and acting as the primary contact for the MHRA. 

The team has close links with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), hosting the NIHR Clinical Research Network for the North East and North Cumbria and contributing over 50% of their actual activity across the region.

Amanda has substantial experience of both the National Health Service and university administrative procedures and has a comprehensive understanding of all issues related to clinical research governance, contract negotiation and supporting researchers in gaining grants.

She previously worked on the directorate management side of the NHS, working (amongst other things) as the Assistant Directorate Manager for Clinical Medicine within the Newcastle Hospitals, as well as holding a number of posts within Newcastle University, including Head of Administration for the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering. She also has experience of working within primary care trusts and local authorities too, generally working in partnership roles.

Alan Bagnall - Director of Research and DevelopmentShow [+]Hide [-]

Alan is an interventional cardiologist based at the Freeman Hospital where he has worked since 2008.

Alan was previously a Wellcome Clinical Research Fellow in the Edinburgh Cardiovascular Research Initiative. For his PhD, he generated several tissue-specific knockout models of endothelin receptors to study their role in hypertension, salt excretion and pulmonary hypertension. He was awarded a clinical lectureship thereafter to continue these studies under Professor Keith Fox and was supported by grants from the BHF. Prior to his move to Newcastle, Alan trained in interventional cardiology at St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto where he developed his research interests in coronary artery disease, with a particular focus on chronic total occlusions and quality improvement in acute coronary syndromes.

As a consultant, he has been CI and PI for a number of commercial and non-commercial portfolio trials and won a BMJ Award for Best Educational Team for his work with the UK Endovascular Trainees group. Outside of medicine, he is a keen cyclist, skier and plays guitar with more enthusiasm than talent.

Susan Ridge - Research Governance Manager Show [+]Hide [-]

Susan RidgeHaving been in post since August 2012, Susan previously gained extensive experience in clinical trial management within the pharmaceutical environment starting as a clinical research associate, and after that as a clinical trials manager.

Susan started her career in New Zealand within the health service as a nurse, working across a range of therapeutic areas. To gain experience, she worked in the UK as a respiratory research nurse at the National Heart and Lung Institute in London and developed an interest in research.

On returning to New Zealand she pursued a lifelong ambition to retrain and practice as a midwife before returning permanently to the UK in 2000 to resume a career in research.

Stephen Robson - Clinical Director of the North East and North Cumbria Clinical Research NetworkShow [+]Hide [-]

Stephen RobsonSteve is Professor of Fetal Medicine at Newcastle University and an Honorary Consultant Obstetrician at The Newcastle Hospitals.

He was appointed as Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University in 1992, being promoted to Professor the following year. He developed the Fetal Medicine Unit in Newcastle which provides fetal diagnostic and therapeutic services for all of the North East and Cumbria. Stephen is the lead clinician for highly specialised regional services providing care for pregnancies complicated by alloimmunisation, fetal renal and neural anomalies, and morbidly adherent placenta. He also chairs the NHS-England National Specialised Services Clinical Reference Group for Fetal Medicine.

He established the Newcastle Uteroplacental Tissue Bank and is the lead for the Reproductive and Vascular Biology Research Group which focuses on mechanisms of placental development and uterine smooth muscle contraction utilizing unique human tissue. He is also lead for the multi-disciplinary Reproductive Health Research Group which undertakes clinical trials in a variety of pregnancy-related disorders. Current grant funding exceeds £5million.

Stephen comes from Newcastle although undertook a large part of his postgraduate training at Imperial & University Colleges in London. He is committed to making the North East a world class clinical and academic environment.

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